It's April, which means warmer weather, longer days, more riding time, and sunny days! Show season has officially started. We can't wait to be outside taking in ALL THE THINGS!
This brings about the question, just what is it about sun shirts that we as riders can’t get enough of?? Just 10 years (oh wow has it already been 10 years of sun shirts???) ago it was all about the cotton polo shirts! Well, today I’m going to dive into just what makes sun shirts so amazing.
1. Sun Protection
Hands down one of the greatest benefits of sun shirts is the protection you get from the sun (hence the name). For fellow pale people like myself, this was a literal lifesaver. I burn pretty much just thinking about the sun and have spent most summers in a permanent shade of “tomato red”. Most sun shirts have a UPF 50+ rating to not only keep you from getting sunburned but also to protect you from skin cancer down the road. I opt for the long sleeve styles so instead of sporting my usual “farmer burn” I only have to worry about my hands (yes I kid you not, one day I didn’t wear gloves and legit only burned the tops of my hands).
2. Cooling Properties
You may think that wearing long sleeves in the summer would be incredibly hot, but that’s another great benefit of a sun shirt. Not only do they protect you from the sun but they are made of high-tech material which science shows will lower your body temperature by up to 5 degrees.
Most shirts also feature a mesh panel under the arm to increase airflow! When you spend your days riding multiple horses, teaching, or hanging out at the show, something that helps keep you a little cooler makes a bigger difference… because let's be honest, no one likes heat exhaustion.
3. Athletic Materials
I think back to the days of schooling in polos as the dark ages for a multitude of reasons but mainly because how did we ever function without innovative athletic materials?? Cotton does absolutely nothing for us as riders except end up smelling just wretched. Yes, you know what I’m talking about when you’ve just sweated one too many times in your favorite top and it still has this lingering odor no matter how many times you wash it. Bring on the invention of moisture-wicking fabrics and the world changed forever. Now you can’t find a sun shirt that isn’t moisture-wicking, breathable, and anti-odor. Yep, you heard right- the days of grungy smelling polos are over.
Obviously, we aren’t going to wear something that isn’t cute as well. The height of equestrian fashion used to be Ralph Lauren polos and we all had a million different colors and patterns. Now that has just shifted over to sun shirts with the additional option to choose your sleeve length. New colors come out each season so there’s always an excuse to buy a new one. I love a good neutral base with a fun colored zipper! The quarter-zip and collar make them fashionable and appropriate for all occasions. Not to mention you can wear them for more than just one season, when it starts getting a bit chilly again, just throw a vest over top and you’re ready to go!
Last but not least, sun shirts are infinitely comfier than a polo or regular t-shirt! Made of new athletic fabrics that are designed to move with the rider, they are less restrictive than previous options. So not only do you look good, but you feel good and can just focus on your riding. Oooh and most are machine washable, so staying clean is a breeze.
I am a sun shirt fiend and have a huge collection in just about every color of the rainbow. They’re cute, functional, and comfy. I wear them outside of the barn too, basically anytime I’m outside or exercising! Any other sun shirt lovers out there, share with me why you love them too!
Check out our entire collection of sun shirts HERE!!